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Davis Journal

Davis School District video ‘Rock Your Socks’ nominated for Rocky Mountain Emmy

Jan 02, 2024 03:23PM ● By Becky Ginos

FARMINGTON—It all started with a letter. A very special letter to the Davis School District (DSD) Superintendent from a boy named Colton asking him to find a way to make his little brother Hudson who has Down syndrome feel special on World Down Syndrome Day. 

“The Superintendent wanted to celebrate in every school in the whole district,” said Tom Laughlin, Producer/Editor DSD. “In Down syndrome there are miss matched chromosomes. So everyone in the district wore miss matched socks to celebrate Hudson.”

Chris Williams, Director of Communication & Operations, thought it would be an awesome video, Laughlin said.

That’s what led to Laughlin and the district being nominated for an Emmy for “Rock Your Socks,” in the Diversity/Equity/Inclusion Short Film Content category of the 2023 Rocky Mountain Emmy.

“I went to their (Colton’s) house and filmed the whole project in a few hours,” he said. “I did all the filming, lighting and music.”

Laughlin interviewed First Lady Abby Cox for the video. “It was cool for her to show support for World Down Syndrome Day.”

The Emmy is kind of a big deal, said Laughlin. “Submissions come in from four to five states. It’s filmmakers, studios, documentaries, lots of news stories and news reporters.”

Laughlin said he got an email that they would be announcing who got into the Emmys. “They live streamed it and when they announced the Diversity/Equity/Inclusion Short Film Content category and said “Rock Your Socks Off,” I just called Chris. We were flabbergasted.”

To be nominated for an Emmy is huge, he said. “We went to the ceremony in Arizona and looked around and decided this was not our crowd. We were just a bunch of DSD employees.”

“We had no idea what setting we would be in,” said Williams. “Channels 2, 4, 5, Fox 13, here we were Davis School District.”

In this category there were two videos, Arizona PTV and the NFL, he said. “They had teams working on theirs and here we are with one videographer putting ours together. We were going against Arizona, a 24/7 TV station and also a huge organization like the NFL.”

It speaks to the quality of Tom’s work, Williams said. “He’s super talented and deserves a lot of credit. It was fun going up against lots of people for this recognition.”

It all stemmed from a letter to the superintendent from a boy who wanted his brother to be recognized, he said. “This simple request led to running for an Emmy.”

Laughlin has been with the district for eight years but has been in the industry for 20 years. “I was making short films in high school,” he said. “After my mission to Brazil I thought I’d go into business and marketing in film.”

He packed up and moved from Wichita, Kansas to Utah even though he had no family there. “I had been at the MTC in Utah and I felt like I should be in Utah. There’s a large filmmaking presence in Utah.”

Laughlin graduated from Utah Valley University and worked in a variety of areas. “I got into education (filming) and it was meaningful to celebrate students and teachers.”

It’s a blessing to work for DSD, he said. “DSD has been encouraging and fosters a culture of risk taking with creativity.”

It’s always wonderful to see what kids are doing, said Laughlin. “They deserve a voice. Teachers work an insane amount of hours. That’s my motivating drive with the media is to create something that can influence a teacher’s impact on students and the educational experience in the classroom.”

“That’s what I love about our jobs,” said Williams. “We tell the stories most people don’t have an idea about.”

The video can be found at: